Category Archives: Civil Law

Interim Mandatory Injunction

In Dorab Cawasji Warden v. Coomi Sorab Warden, (1990) 2 SCC 117, it was held as under:

        “The relief of interlocutory mandatory injunctions are thus granted generally to preserve or restore the status quo of the last non-contested status which preceded the pending controversy until the final hearing when full relief may be granted or to compel the undoing of those acts that have been illegally done or to the restoration of that which was wrongfully taken from the party complaining. But since the granting of such an injunction to a party who fails or would fail to establish his right at the trial may cause great injustice or irreparable harm to the party against whom it was granted or alternatively not granting of it to a party who succeeds or would succeed may equally cause great injustice or irreparable harm, courts have evolved certain guidelines. These guidelines are:

  • The plaintiff has a strong case for trial. That is, it shall be of a higher standard than a prima facie case that is normally required for a prohibitory injunction.
  • It is necessary to prevent irreparable or serious injury which normally cannot be compensated in terms of money.
  • The balance of convenience is in favour of the one seeking such relief.

Being essentially an equitable relief the grant or refusal of an interlocutory mandatory injunction shall ultimately rest in the sound judicial discretion of the court to be exercised in the light of the facts and circumstances in each case. Though the above guidelines are neither exhaustive nor complete or absolute rules, and there may be exceptional circumstances needing action, applying them as prerequisite for the grant or refusal of such injunctions would be a sound exercise of a judicial discretion.”

It is well established that an interim mandatory injunction is not a remedy that is easily granted. It is an order that is passed only in circumstances which are clear and the prima facie material clearly justify a finding that the status quo has been altered by one of the parties to the litigation and the interests of justice demanded that the status quo ante be restored by way of an interim mandatory injunction. Samir Narain Bhojwani v. Aurora Properties and Investments, (2018) 17 SCC 203.

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Daughter – Coparcener by Birth

The law relating to a Joint Hindu Family governed by the Mitakshara law has undergone unprecedented changes. The said changes have been brought forward to address the growing need to merit equal treatment to the nearest female relatives, namely, daughters of a coparcener. The section stipulates that a daughter would be a coparcener from her birth, and would have the same rights and liabilities as that of a son. The daughter would hold property to which she is entitled as a coparcenary property, which would be construed as property being capable of being disposed of by her either by a will or any other testamentary disposition. These changes have been sought to be made on the touchstone of equality, thus seeking to remove the perceived disability and prejudice to which a daughter was subjected. The fundamental changes brought forward about in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 by amending it in 2005, are perhaps a realisation of the immortal words of Roscoe Pound as appearing in his celebrated treaties, The Ideal Element in Law, that “the law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still. Hence all thinking about law has struggled to reconcile the conflicting demands of the need of stability and the need of change”.

Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, as amended, stipulates that on and from the commencement of the amended Act, 2005, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. It is apparent that the status conferred upon sons under the old section and the old Hindu Law was to treat them as coparceners since birth. The amended provision now statutorily recognises the rights of coparceners of daughters as well since birth. The section uses the words in the same manner as the son. It should therefore be apparent that both the sons and the daughters of a coparcener have been conferred the right of becoming coparceners by birth. It is the very factum of birth in a coparcenary that creates the coparcenary, therefore the sons and daughters of a coparcener become coparceners by virtue of birth. Devolution of coparcenary property is the later stage of and a consequence of death of a coparcener. The first stage of a coparcenary is obviously its creation and is well recognised. One of the incidents of coparcenary is the right of a coparcener to seek a severance of status. Hence, the rights of coparceners emanate and flow from birth (now including daughters) as is evident from sub-sections (1)(a) and (b). Danamma v. Amar, (2018) 3 SCC 343

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Eviction Suit – Title of Landlord

As regards the relevance of the issue of title of the landlord in an eviction suit under rent laws it is fairly well settled that the impleadment of co-owner/co-sharer to the proceedings is not essential as eviction proceedings can normally be decided on merits in absence of such co-owner/co-sharer. In an eviction suit filed by the landlord, only landlord and tenant are necessary parties and in view thereof title of landlord in an eviction suit is not relevant. If the landlord fails to prove his title but proves relationship of landlord and tenant, and proves existence of any ground pleaded for eviction then his suit would succeed. On the other hand, if the landlord proves his title but fails to prove relationship of landlord and tenant, then his suit would fail. Shahnaj Begum v. Taj Mohammad, 2019 (134) ALR 800.

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Determination or Order

        The word “determination” has to be contextually determined. In Ashok Leyland Ltd. v. State of T.N., (2004) 3 SCC 1, the Hon’ble Apex Court has reproduced the definition of “determination” from Law Lexicon, 2nd Edition by P. Ramanatha Iyer and Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition. It reads thus:

        “Determination or order.—The expression “determination” signifies an effective expression of opinion which ends a controversy or a dispute by some authority to whom it is submitted under a valid law for disposal. The expression “order” must have also a similar meaning, except that it need not operate to end the dispute. Determination or order must be judicial or quasi – judicial. Jaswant Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Lakshmi Chand, AIR 1963 SC 677.

        A “determination” is a final judgment for purposes of appeal when the Trial Court has completed its adjudication of the rights of the parties in the action. Thomas Van Dyken Joint centure v. Van Dyken, 27 NW 2d 459.

          The said test clearly means that the expression of determination signifies an expressive opinion. Union of India v. Hardy Exploration and Production (India) Inc., 2019 (132) ALR 263.

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Plea of —Undue Influence

While considering the aspect of plea of undue influence and onus probandi, in Subhas Chandr Das Mushib v. Ganga Prasad Das Mushib, AIR 1967 SC 878, it was held as under:

       “Under Section 16(1) of the Contract Act a contract is said to be induced by undue influence where the relations subsisting between the parties are such that none of the parties is in a position to dominate the will of the other and uses that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the other. This shows that the court trying a case of undue influence must consider two things to start with, namely, (1) are the relations between the donor and the donee such that the donee is in a position to dominate the will of the donor, and (2) has the donee used that position to obtain an unfair advantage over the donor?

       The three stages for consideration of a case of undue influence were expounded in Raghunath Prasad Sahu v. Sarju Prasad Sahu, AIR 1924 PC 60, in the following words:

       “In the first place the relations between the parties to each other must be such that one is in a position to dominate the will of the other. Once that position is substantiated, the second stage has been reached, viz., the issue whether the contract has been induced by undue influence. Upon the determination of this issue a third point emerges, which is that of onus probandi. If the transaction appears to be unconscionable, then the burden of proving that the contract was not induced by undue influence is to lie upon the person who was in a position to dominate the will of the other.

       Error is almost sure to arise if the order of these propositions be changed. The unconscionableness of the bargain is not the first thing to be considered. The first thing to be considered is the relations of these parties. Were they such as to put one in a position to dominate the will of the other? Jamila Beguma v. Shami Mohd., (2019) 2 SCC 727.

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Second Notice – A New Tenancy Cannot be Inferred

In Sarup Singh Gupta v. S. Jagdish Singh, (2006) 4 SCC 205, it was held as under:

       “In the instant case, two notices to quit were given on 10th February, 1979 and 17th March, 1979. The suit was filed on June 2, 1979. The tenant offered and the landlord accepted the rent for the months of April, May and thereafter. The question is whether this by itself constitutes an act on the part of the landlord showing an intention to treat the lease as subsisting. Mere acceptance of rent did not by itself constitute an act of the nature envisaged by Section 113, Transfer of Property Act showing an intention to treat the lease as subsisting. The fact remains that even after accepting the rent tendered, the landlord did file a suit for eviction, and even while prosecuting the suit accepted rent which was being paid to him by the tenant. It cannot therefore, be said that by accepting rent, he intended to waive the notice to quit and to treat the lease as subsisting. We cannot ignore the fact that in any event, even if rent was neither tendered nor accepted, the landlord in the event of success would be entitled to the payment of the arrears of rent. To avoid any controversy, in the event of termination of lease the practice followed by courts is to permit the landlord to receive each month by way of compensation for the use and occupation of the premises, an amount equal to the monthly rent payable by the tenant. It cannot, therefore, be said that mere acceptance of rent amounts to waiver of notice to quit unless there be any other evidence to prove or establish that the landlord so intended.”

       In the Judgment rendered by Orissa High Court in Bhagabat Patnaik v. Madhusudan Panda, AIR 1965 Ori 11, Section 113 has been interpreted to hold that since a valid notice to quit a lease or to determine a tenancy cannot be waived without the assent of the landlord and the tenant both, the question as to whether such facts and circumstances of the case. An English Authority in Lawenthanfal v. Banhoute, 1947 (1) ALL ER 116, was quoted to say that a new tenancy cannot be inferred on the issuance of second notice. It is in this context that it was observed that a “subsequent notice to quit is of no effect.” It was held that a tenancy is not revived by anything short of a new tenancy and in order to create a new tenancy there must be an express or implied agreement to that effect.

       The mere fact that the tenant continues in possession and rent is accepted and the suit is not instituted are insufficient circumstances for inferring an intention to create a new tenancy after expiration of the first. It was further held thus:

       “Generally speaking, giving a second notice to quit does not amount to a waiver of a notice previously given unless, with other circumstances, it is the basis for inferring an intention to create a new tenancy after expiration of the first.” Praveen Kumar Jain v. Jagdish Prasad Gupta, 2019 (132) ALR 357.

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Substantial Question of Law

In Santosh Hazari v. Purushottam Tiwari, (2001) 3 SCC 179, the Hon’ble Supreme Court considered what the phrase “substantial question of law” means as under:

       “The phrase is not defined in the CivilProcedure Code. The word “substantial”, as qualifying question of law, means of having substance, essential, real, of sound worth, important or considerable.It is to be understood as something in contradistinction with technical, of no substances or consequence, or academic merely.”

       A full bench of the Hon’ble Madras HighCourt in Rimmalapudi Subba Rao v. Noony Veeraju, AIR 1951 Mad 969 observed as under:

       “When a question of law is fairly arguable, where there is room for difference of opinion or where the court thought it necessary to deal with that question at some length and discuss an alternative view, then the question would be a substantial question of law. On the other hand, if the question was practically covered by decision of highest court or if general principles to be applied in determining the question are well settled and the only question was of applying those principles to the particular fact of case, it could not be a substantial question of law.”

       It was further observed in Santosh Hazari v. Purushottam Tiwari, (2001) 3 SCC 179 as under:

       “A point of law which admits of no two opinions may be a proposition of law but cannot be a substantial question of law. To be substantial, a question of law must be debatable, not previously settled by law of the land or a binding precedent, and must have a material bearing on the decision of the case, if answered either way, in so far as the rights of the parties before it are concerned. To be a question of law involving in the case there must be first a foundation for it laid in the pleadings and the question should emerge from  the substantial findings of fact arrived at by court of facts and it must be necessary to decide that question of law for a just and proper decision of the case. An entirely new point raised for the first time before the High Court is not a question involved in the case unless it goes to the root of the matter. I twill, therefore, depend on the facts and circumstances of each case whether a question of law is a substantial one and involved in the case, or not; the paramount overall consideration being the need for striking a judicious balance between the indispensable obligation to do justice at all stages and impelling necessity of avoiding prolongation in the life of any lis.” Ajay Kumar Jaiswal v. Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal, 2018 (130) ALR408.

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